Ottoneu Arbitration: First Pass

The arbitration season of ottoneu is upon us and will last through November 14. Often, the best way to teach is via example. Today I’m going to provide my list of bids and the thought process behind a few notable selections. In some cases, I’ll discuss non-selections as well. Remember, these picks can be changed at any time and aren’t finalized until the conclusion of the arbitration season.

FanGraphs Staff Two is a 12 team points league. Owners get $25 to allocate across their 11 rivals with a maximum bid of $3 per team. So far, half of our league has submitted bids. A total of 56 players have drawn fire, 21 of those from me. I was the first owner to select allocations and have not revised my picks since other owners spent their shekels. Below is the complete list of my allocations.

My allocations

I chose to spread the pain, by making $1 bids to 18 players. That should leave my allocations in circulation for a long time. I tend to agree with fellow ottoneu writer and league rival Chad Young about prospects – don’t bid on them. I did make an exception for Jorge Soler who I believe to be a special case. As they say, all rules are made to be broken, especially rules of thumb (nobody says that latter part).

I make frequent trades, which is a reason why I’ve consciously targeted first basemen. My roster contains Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Steve Pearce, Adam Lind, and Justin Morneau. It’s unlikely that I’ll trade for a first baseman next season. As such, I won’t inadvertently hurt myself with my bidding.

My $3 bid to Jose Abreu has more to do with the roster in question than a desire to pile on to Abreu. Sure, his $15 price tag deserves correction, but he’s also the only player outside of a $47 Andrew McCutchen I considered targeting. And if I have my way, I’d like to acquire McCutchen via trade this offseason.

Hunter Pence’s owner has several players I’d like to acquire – most notably Chris Sale. If I see his $28 price tag bid past bargain territory, I’ll probably chop up my allocation to Pence. He’s one of the older guys I’ve allocated to, so I don’t intend to keep both dollars directed at him.

Chad’s $19 Rizzo isn’t a rousing bargain, but I covet several lower priced players like J.D. Martinez and Devin Mesoraco. I don’t want to step on my own toes. In others like Corey Dickerson, I’m not confident they’ll produce at the same level in 2015. Even if Chad trades Rizzo, I know somebody will keep the Cubs slugger. It won’t be me.

In my estimation, the most notable player I didn’t bid on is a $7 Jonathan Lucroy. He’s clearly a massive bargain as a frequently played catcher. My team currently has just Evan Gattis at catcher, so I need to add some depth. Lucroy is another target of mine, hence I abstained from bidding on him.

In the case of all these targets, I’ll be attempting to open negotiations in the next couple weeks. If I don’t think a deal is possible, I’ll probably re-allocate to some my trade targets. Ideally, I wouldn’t be revealing my intentions so clearly on a website they all read, so I’ll just have to hope there is no counter-subterfuge.

Alternatively, I could have shown an early bid on my trade targets as a means of protecting them from other bids. Theoretically, if I $3-bid Lucroy, my rivals should pay more attention to other players on that roster. I can then remove my bid at the last moment. Another consideration to keep in mind: my roster has about $200 available to spend. If a $3 bid on McCutchen changes his owners disposition, it might reduce his acquisition cost by more than the value of $3 per season. I don’t need to worry about dollars and cents, but most of my rivals do.

In case you’re curious, here is what’s been sent my way. We sort of talked my rivals decision in the fantasy puzzle published a couple weeks ago.

Allocations to me

I’m a bit surprised Kluber’s been heavily targeted. I thought he’d get through the whole process with just $1 or $2 attached. He’ll now cost the same as Jon Lester and the bidding could continue. Meanwhile, my $4 George Springer is completely untouched. I think if he was on just about any other roster in this league, he’d be a primary focus.

We hoped you liked reading Ottoneu Arbitration: First Pass by Brad Johnson!

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Just curious as to why you consider Jorge Soler an exception.

If I understand the workings correctly, even if Soler has a breakout year, you can always “make up” for his value by allocating more money to him next year.
It just seems the worst case scenario is the other owner gets Soler extra cheap for one year. The only exception I could see is that the owner has a roster of players that will likely only be kept for another couple years at most.